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OUR Saviour allowed his Disciples when they should fall under Persecution, to flee from one City to another, though they were to be as harmless as Doves, yet he commanded them to be as wise as Serpents.
I F therefore the Enjoyment of Riches bad been a thing that had suited with his Religion ; was not a Renunciation of all worldly Wealth, a Temper necessary and “never to be dispensed with, one would suppose, that it would least of all have been imposed, at a Time when there were so many other unavoidable Burdens to be undergone.
SINCE therefore this forsaking and renouncing all by our own Act and Deed, since this Degree of Self-denial and Selfpersecution was commanded at a Time, when all the World were Enemies to Christians, since they were not then spared or indulged in any pleasurable Enjoyments of their worldly Wealth, but were to add this Instance of Suffering, to all the Sufferings from their Enemies, we may
be sure, that it was required because it was a necessary Duty, because it was a proper Behaviour of such as were born of God, and made Heirs of eternal Glory.
I F this be true, then it must be own'd, that it is still the fame necessary Duty, and
is now as well that proper Behaviour of those who are Sons of God, as ever it
For Christianity is just that same spiritual heavenly State, that it was then, the Dignity of Christians has suffered no Alteration since that Time, and a Treafure in Heaven, an eternal Happiness are still the same great and important Things.
CH A P. IV.
A Continuation of the fame Subject.
NY one that is at all acquainted with Scripture must Observe, that the Doctrine of the
foregoing Chapter, is not barely Founded on those particular Texts there considered, but that the same Spirit of renouncing the World, is the most commoni and repeated Subjeciof our Saviour's heilt venly Instructions.
À CERTAIN Man said unto himn Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, the Foxes have Holes, and the Birds of the Air have Nifts, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay bis Head (a).
ANOTHER also said Lord, I will follow t?:ce, but let me first go bid tlcin farewell, that are at Home at my House.
AND Fefies said unto him, no Man having put his Hand to the Plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.
THESE Paslages are all of a kind with what our Saviour faid to the young Man, they directly teach that same Renunciation of the World, as the firit and principal Temper, the very Soul and Essence of Christianity.
This Doctrine is press’d, and urged upon us by various Ways, by every Art of Teaching, that it might enter into the_Heart of every Reader.
The Kingdom of God, faith our Saviour, is like unto a Merchant-Man secking goodly Pearles, who when he had found one Pearle of great Price, he went and sold all that he had and bought it (a).
THE Doctrine of this Parable needs no Interpretation, it is plain and strong, and presses home the Advice that our Saviour gave to the rich young Man.
When it says, that the Kingdom of God is a Pearl of great Price, I suppose it means, that a great deal is to be given for it, and when it says, that the Merchant went and sold all that he had and bought it, I suppose this is to teach us, that it cannot be bought at any less Price.
(A) Mar, xiii. 45.
The modern Jews would be upon much easier Terms than those who lived in our Saviour's Days ; if we can now tell them that the Kingdom of God is no longer like one Pearl of great Price, and that they need not sell all that they have and buy it; but may go on seeking Pearls as they used to do, and yet be good Members of the Kingdom of God.
Now if we may not preach such a new Gospel as this to the present Jews, I don't know how we can preach it to Christians.
This Parable does not suppose, that the Merchant went to Trading again, after he had sold all, and bought this Pearl of great Price. He was content with that, and did not want any other Riches.
If the Kingdom of God, is not Riches sufficient for us, but we must add another Greatness, and another Wealth to it, we fall under the Condemnation of this Parable.
To proceed. The peaceful, pleasurable Enjoyments of Riches, is a State of Life every where condemned by our Blessed Saviour.
Wo unto you that are Full, for ye Mall Hunger, wo into you that Laugh now, for ye shall Weep and Mourn (a).
(a) Luke vi. 25.